Funding will Support the Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment, Installation of Safety Equipment and Other Important Measures
KENORA – Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs has announced the creation of a new short-term Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP) to help businesses adapt to new COVID-19 public health guidelines and protect employees and customers.
“We recognize the adaptations your businesses have made in what is now the ‘second wave’ in COVID-19,” said Minister Rickford.
“The goal is covering as many businesses as possible”.
There has been $20 million allocated to this program which will provide a $25k grant to accepted businesses.
“As the province continues to respond to the ongoing challenge of the global pandemic, our government will continue to support our business owners, entrepreneurs and workers,” says Minister Rickford. “There is no denying that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on businesses throughout Northern Ontario and this program will deliver targeted funding so they can continue to serve their communities.”
Companies can apply to NORP for assistance with projects that help them adjust to the impacts of COVID-19, such as, but not limited to:
- Building renovations and new constructions
- Customer and employee safety installations
- Equipment purchases, including personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Marketing for new business initiatives
- Restructuring of business operations
Applications will be open from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, with the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) administering the new program. The current NOHFC program streams will close for applications as of September 30, 2020, to allow the NOHFC to focus exclusively on NORP funding applications.
Federal Conservative Party’s Shadow Minister for Northern Affairs and FedNor, Eric Melillo is now urging the federal Liberal government to step up.
“I’ve been calling on the federal government to show this kind of leadership, but we’ve unfortunately seen very little action from the Liberals,” Melillo, the federal MP for Kenora stated. “They’ve forgotten about Northern Ontario.”
Melillo noted that Northern Ontario’s tourism and hospitality sector may not recover until the Canada-US border re-opens, leaving many tourist camps, hotels, airlines, and other businesses in a precarious position. He added that many small businesses in Northern Ontario struggled to access existing COVID-19 supports due to exclusionary eligibility criteria.
Melillo has been advocating for additional supports since the beginning of the pandemic, writing letters to Liberal Cabinet Ministers in addition to public statements and private lobbying.
“The contribution from the province will go a long way in helping Northern businesses who have been hit hard by this pandemic,” MP Melillo said. “I won’t stop fighting until the federal government steps up as well.”
Minister Rickford also announced plans for a new and improved NOHFC program to be launched in January 2021. The new program will make it easier for more people and businesses to apply and support more projects in rural northern communities. The program will target both existing and emerging market opportunities, provide more work opportunities for Indigenous people and address the skilled labour shortage in the north.
The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects – big and small, rural and urban – that stimulate recovery, growth, job creation and skilled workforce development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $193 million in 1,386 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $748 million in investment and creating or sustaining 3,912 jobs.
The details will be on the NOHFC website later today.